Still no fam­ily plan­ning at South­side Health Cen­ter

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - News - Mary Spicuzza Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - WIS­CON­SIN

Fam­ily plan­ning is still not be­ing of­fered at the city’s South­side Health Cen­ter, nearly a year af­ter the cru­cial ser­vice was dis­rupted.

The Jour­nal Sen­tinel first re­ported months ago that fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices — as well as can­cer screen­ings — over­seen by the trou­bled Mil­wau­kee Health Depart­ment had been in­ter­rupted.

Fam­ily plan­ning ser­vices in­clude test­ing and treat­ment for sex­u­al­ly­trans­mit­ted dis­eases, con­tra­cep­tives and pap smears.

An in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found per­son­nel is­sues, staff turnover and the de­ci­sion to end a con­tract with a care provider con­trib­uted to prob­lems that led to the dis­rup­tion of ser­vices, top health of­fi­cials said Thurs­day dur­ing a meet­ing at City Hall.

“There was a rather large (hu­man re­sources) is­sue, one out of the soap op­eras, that re­sulted in that par­tic­u­lar con­tract” be­ing ended, said Jen­nifer Frei­heit, the city’s new health op­er­a­tions ad­min­is­tra­tor.

“It’s been very con­fus­ing where the fund­ing went,” Frei­heit said.

She also said her in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the Health Depart­ment was at the time “op­er­at­ing in a fight or flight” mode and hem­or­rhag­ing staff.

Ald. Michael Mur­phy, who has been push­ing for more in­for­ma­tion about the trou­bled depart­ment, said the sit­u­a­tion raises ques­tions about the pre­vi­ous lead­er­ship of the health agency.

“Quite hon­estly it re­flects very poorly on the lead­er­ship of the Mil­wau­kee Health Depart­ment dur­ing that time,” he said.

Mur­phy added that the new lead­er­ship has “some tough de­ci­sions” to make as the agency is re­built.

Ald. Mark Borkowski raised con­cerns about the agency’s con­tin­u­ing strug­gles.

“I’m ashamed at us,” he said. “I re­ally am.”

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